Do bilinguals have different concepts? The case of shape and material in Japanese L2 users of English

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  2. Emeritus Professor Vivian Cook
  3. Arata Takahashi
Author(s)Bassetti B, Cook V, Kasai C, Sasaki M, Takahashi JA
Publication type Article
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism
ISSN (print)1367-0069
ISSN (electronic)1756-6878
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NotesAn experiment investigated whether Japanese speakers’ categorisation of objects and substances as shape or material is influenced by acquiring English. The hypotheses were that for simple objects the number of shape-based categorisations would increase according to experience of English and that the preference for shape and material-based categorisations of Japanese speakers of English would differ from mono¬lingual speakers of both languages. Subjects were 18 adult Japanese users of English who had lived in English-speaking countries between 6 months and 3 years (short-stay group), and 18 who had lived in English-speaking count¬ries for 3 years or more (long-stay group). Both groups preferred material responses for simple objects and substances but not for complex objects, but the long-stay group showed more shape preference than the short-stay group and also were less different from American monolinguals. These effects of acquiring a second lang¬uage on cat¬eg¬orisation have implications for conceptual representation and methodology.
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